Port workers in Rotterdam are showing solidarity with their colleagues at the large British container port Felixstowe, where the strike is likely to last for more than a week. According to FNV’s trade union director Niek Stam, this means that ships that have already wanted to go to the UK’s largest container port cannot simply divert to Rotterdam. He makes an argument for dockers here not to unload those “polluted ships”.
In Felixstow, north-east London, workers are threatening to quit their eight-day job later this month amid discontent over the failure of wage negotiations. The struggle revolves around the high inflation that the Hutchison Port Company does not want to compensate for in employee salaries.
“This is incomprehensible to us,” says Stam. Inflation is now high. But the profits for major buyers of container terminals are also huge.”
The FNV member explains that it is good practice in the port world not to cooperate with the practices of shipping companies trying to circumvent union actions in the event of colleagues’ strikes. In that case, Stam hopes to hear from the British Federation Unite about the affected ships.
Felixstowe handles nearly 2,000 vessels and more than 4 million containers each year. Stam believes that if the port is really flat in just over a week due to the strike, it could cause unrest in Rotterdam. This is due to the automation of far-reaching operations at the port and the fact that stations everywhere are currently very busy. Then something doesn’t have to be connected properly and then the processing is already broken.
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